Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point from the Jenny Lake West boat dock is arguably the most popular hike in Grand Teton National Park.
The boat shuttles the masses over from the easily-accessible East boat dock near the parking lot, and everyone trudges up the 1.8 mile roundtrip to the falls, and some go all the way up to Inspiration Point.
To skip (most) of the masses, you can do the 8 mile Jenny Lake Loop trail around the lake, and if you want good parking options you can do it from the String Lake Trailhead instead of the Jenny Lake Trailhead where the shuttle boat departs from.
The hike up to Inspiration Point is simple and straightforward, with a great trail. Sneakers or hikers like the Salomon X Ultra 4 that I love love love are perfect for the trek in, although I wore my trusty Lowa Renegades (7th pair!) since we were limited on space and these were what I had along with me.
We opted for the String Lake Trailhead going clockwise, with constant views of the Teton Range through the pines along the lake edge.
Once you hit the Jenny Lake Trailhead, you pick up tourists opting to hike to the West dock instead of waiting in line for the boat. Still very manageable.
Once you hit the West dock where the boat disembarks, it’s mayhem. The trail is clogged with people walking four abreast while huffing and puffing, deciding whether the view of Hidden Falls is worth the coronary they’re going to have along the way.
Luckily I reminded Colette to pack extra grace and tolerance for the whole summer, since we’re going to be immersed in Idiocracy for several months.
A quick photo at Hidden Falls, then a quick sprint up to Inspiration Point for a picnic lunch.
Not So Hidden Falls
Long Way Up
We decided to take the Cascade Canyon horse trail down towards String Lake to skip the West boat dock and the crowds, and this turned out to be a fabulous idea.
Big trees, an amazing trail, and complete solitude except for the bear and her cub we stumbled across. I was just about to mention to Colette that I smelled bear when I saw a cinnamon-brown cub bumbling in the bushes to our right, immediately followed by Big. Black. Mama. Thirty feet to our right. Shiza.
Mama wasn’t amused by our intrusion, but she decided we weren’t much of a threat and headed off with junior into the brush.
Unfortunately the string of photos I ripped off weren’t great since I was juggling bear spray and nerves, but they’re good enough for memory photos for us, and good reminders why we carry protection in the back country.
Now that we’ve hit the top three hikes in the park, tomorrow we’re off for some solo time on the water to chill for a bit.